Maybe the Setting Suns / Magnetic Morning* should just be a cover band. This is not to detract from the five original songs they have at this time. But their blissed-out adaptations of The Kinks’ "The Way Love Used to Be" and, especially, The Shangri-La’s "Out in the Streets" were so stellar that I wanted to hear what they could do with other obscure pop gems.
Last night’s Mercury Lounge show was the Setting Suns debut*, a collaboration between Swervedriver frontman Adam Franklin and Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino. (The live band also includes Jimmy Lavalle of Album Leaf fame on keyboards, touring Interpol agent Blasco on guitars and keys, and Josh Stoddart on bass.) There was a lot more equipment, keyboards and such mainly, than I expected on a stage that was already crowded with effects pedals and Coronas. They also had a digital projector hooked up, spiting out what seemed to me to be random squiggles and wingdings against a screen behind them.
A fairly packed show, with a lot of people turning out to see just what a "supergroup" like this might cook up. As the Setting Suns’ MySpace page only has two songs — one of which is that Kinks cover — and their iTunes-only (hrmph) EP has three more and some remixes. (I’m going to guess Franklin’s fanbase aren’t big iTunes Music Store purchasers.) So this was first listen for most of the crowd. No surprise, they were loud. Very little stage banter and all yells of "Duel!" or "Duress!" from the Swervedriver fans in the crowd weren’t even acknowledged, though they’ll likely get both of those next year when Franklin reactivates that band.
Of then new songs, the best are probably the ethereal "Don’t Go to Dream State" and "Cold War Kids" that both packed more of a sonic punch than the recorded versions. But those covers were both knockouts. If I’d known about the Shangri-La’s version, I would’ve shot that but instead I took video of the Kinks tune…
And though they didn’t mention it, this was the first and last Setting Suns show. Due to another group "with a name too close for comfort" they’re now called Magnetic Morning. Which is a pretty good name too.
Opening was another supergroup of sorts — School of Seven Bells. This was the new project from Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, twins who used to front On! Air! Library! I hadn’t listened to that band in a couple years, and even if I didn’t know they were in this band, but the second the Dehazas started singing, their distinctive, clear voices are so unmistakable it would ring a bell (or seven) immediately.
The band also features former Secret Machines dude Benjamin Curtis, and On! Air! Library! were in the shoegazy realm so it was a surprise, to me at least, how dancey and world-beat-y School of Seven Bells are. That probably comes from fourth Bell James Elliot, aka electronic musician Atelia. So throw all these influences and backgrounds into one band, you get a strange miasma of sound — part Ofra Haza, part Curve, with a little Blonde Redhead (who were in the audience) for good measure. The band really clicked whenever Curtis also sang… he dirties up the Deheza’s perfect pipes in just the right way.
A few more pictures on Flickr.